First We Eat | Harrowsmith Magazine

Putting Food Security to the Test in Canada’s North

A family’s year-long challenge to live off the land where the Arctic Circle is closer than any major city - 3 skeptical teenagers, 1 reluctant husbandno salt, no caffeine, no sugar and -40 temperatures

Putting food security to the test in the far North of Canada – filmmaker Suzanne Crocker, living just 300 km from the Arctic Circle, removes absolutely all grocery store food from her house. 

For one year, she feeds her family of five, only food that can be hunted, fished, gathered, grown or raised around Dawson City, Yukon.  

Add three skeptical teenagers, one reluctant husband, no salt, no caffeine, no sugar and -40 temperatures.

Ultimately the story becomes a celebration of community and the surprising bounty of food that even a tiny community in the far North can provide.

After all, “First we eat, then we do everything else.” – MFK Fisher


World Premiere: Hot Docs (May 2020)

  • Winner of a Rogers Audience Choice Award

International Premiere:  Doc Edge, New Zealand (June 2020)

  • Winner Best of Future Watch (Jury Award)

Nomination (Oct 2020): Directors Guild of Canada Best Editing in Documentary

Nomination:  Reykjavik International Film Festival (Iceland Sept 2020): A Different Tomorrow Award

Nomination:  Innsbruck Nature Film Festival (Austria):  Best Film on the Topic of Soil

Official Selection: Vancouver International Film Festival (Sept 2020)

Suzanne listening to birch sap


“Inspirational! Suzanne Crocker’s amazing experiment shows that even in the far north with strong individual, family and community effort, local food can feed us year round.”

– David Suzuki

“10 of the Most Exciting Films” – Indie Wire

“Top 10 Must See Films” –NOW Magazine, The Gate

“An absorbing documentary about resourcefulness under pressure and a woman’s determination to finish what she starts….extremely well-crafted … gorgeously shot… packed with tension” – Susan Cole, POV Magazine

“Viewers keen on putting their own culinary struggles in context will not want to miss this snapshot of what it’s like to mine for resources as if one’s life depended on it. For the Crockers, it really did.” – Eric Kohn, Indie Wire

“In Crocker’s skilled and empathetic hands, the film doesn’t pull any punches about the difficulties faced by her family and the push-back she often receives”
– Andrew Parker, The Gate

If you thought a month in lockdown without MacDonald’s was a challenge, try this!”

– Doc Edge

“Let it be said: the Crocker family never shies away from a challenge… With their collective commitment to sustainability constantly teetering on the brink of collapse, this charismatic documentary keeps you on tenterhooks and ultimately sends you home with a few recipes you won’t find on the Food Channel.” – Vancouver International Film Festival

Links to Media Coverage:

Harrowsmith Magazine (Fall 2020)

“Coffee with a Local – Suzanne Crocker, Dawson City Yukon

Harrowsmith Magazine (Spring 2018)

Food Security North of 60 – A retired  family’s doctor attempt at a 100-mile diet in the Yukon

Suzanne & Giant Cabbage

The Current with Matt Galloway – CBC Radio One (June 2020)

“This Yukon woman wanted to live off local food for a year. That meant getting her teenagers on board”

Feature Interview with Suzanne and Family

The Canadian Press – featured in The Toronto Star and newspapers across the country (May 2020)

“Dawson City family eats only local food for a year in documentary ‘First We Eat’”

Women in Hollywood – meet the Hot Docs Director Suzanne Crocker First We Eat (May 2020)


The Tyee (June 2020)

“In Canada’s Far North, We Ate Only Local for a Year – I Was Transformed”

Vice Media (Jan 2019)

“It’s ridiculously hard to eat local in the Yukon”

Scout  Magazine – Vancouver  (Sept 2020)

“Inspirational ‘First We Eat’ filmmaker Suzanne Crocker”

Apple Podcasts – The Escapists (Sept 24)

Feature Interview with Suzanne Crocker

Conscious Living Network & Radio with Host Tasha Simms (Sept 2020)

Tasha Simms interviews Suzanne Crocker

Director Bio:

Award winning director Suzanne Crocker has become known for turning her camera on herself and her family as she takes them through some rather extreme adventure/experiments. 

All The Time In The World (2014) won 22 Festival Awards from around the world including Top 20 Audience Picks at Hot Docs and Most Popular Canadian Documentary at VIFF.  Translated into 12 languages.

Suzanne turns her camera on herself and her family once again in their latest adventure First We Eat.

Frosty Dawson Landscape

Director’s Statement:

I live in Dawson City, Yukon, a Northern Canadian community of 1500 people at 64 degrees North, 300 km south of the Arctic Circle, on the traditional territory of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in.  Dawson is literally at the end of the road.  The nearest Starbucks is 550 km away.  We are dependent on a single road that connects us to the south – one road that trucks 97% of our food from thousands of kilometers away.

A few years ago, the only road into the Yukon was cut-off by a landslide. Grocery store shelves began to go bare within 48 hours. That was my wake up call.

I started to pay attention to the labels on my food and noticed how far it had travelled. The implications of depending on food from afar gained new meaning. I learned that over 50% of the vitamins in fresh greens are lost within the first 5 days after picking. I questioned how much nutrition was left by the time it reached my plate.

I wondered if we, in Dawson, could produce enough food to feed ourselves.  I decided the best way to research this question would be to try it. I would use myself and my family as guinea pigs.  So, much to my family’s disgruntlement, I banished absolutely all grocery store food from our house for one year.

First We Eat is the result.

Suzanne and assistant director Lacey

Director Filmography:

All The Time In The World – first feature POV documentary (2014)

  • Winner of 22 Festival Awards around the word including 9 Audience Choice Awards, 4 Best Picture Awards, 7 Environmental Awards, 6 Youth Awards, including Top 20 Audience Picks at Hot Docs and Most Popular Canadian Documentary at the Vancouver International Film Festival.
  • screened in over 25 countries, on all continents, and been translated into 12 languages. 
Suzanne filming calf

First We Eat – second feature POV documentary (2020)

  • Winner: Hot Docs Rogers Audience Choice Award
  • Winner: Doc Edge Best in Future Watch (jury award)

Creative Team:

Writer/Director/Producer: Suzanne Crocker

Cinematographer: Suzanne Crocker

Story Editor:  Nettie Wild


  •             Michael Brockington
  •             Caroline Christie
  •             Astrid Schau-Larsen

Sound Design and Sound Mix: David Parfit


  •             Alex Houghton
  •             David Parfit
  •             Corb Lund
  •             Andrew Laviolette
  •             J. Robert Cooke
  •             Marieke Hiesnch
  • Title Animation: Joel Penner

Produced with the participation of:

  • Rogers Documentary Fund
  • Canada Media Fund
  • Telefilm Canada
  • Yukon Media Development
  • Northwestel
  • Ted Rogers Hot Docs Fund
  • Blue Ice Docs
  • Growing Forward II
  • Cold Climate Innovation
  • Good Pitch Vancouver
  • Co-presented by: Harrowsmith
Suzanne Canning Food


Main Contact:
Contact: Suzanne Crocker
867 993 6842

Canadian Distributor: Blue Ice Docs
Contact: Robin Smith 

Publicist for Canadian Theatrical Launch (hired by Blue Ice Docs):
Ingrid Hamilton, GAT PR

International Distribution:  PBS International
Contact: Tracy Beckett
617 659 7921

Suzanne Crocker
Suzanne Crocker

Suzanne Crocker is a retired family doctor turned filmmaker and director. Her feature documentary All The Time In The World ( was screened in 25 countries around the world and winner of 22 awards. David Suzuki touted it as “A magnificent film.” You can follow Suzanne’s ambitious journey to establish food security north of 60 here:

Posted on Monday, November 9th, 2020

Read More

Get Ready Canada, El Niño is Back

Get Ready Canada, El Niño is Back

After almost three years under a La Niña pattern, the world will experience a strong El Niño pattern
starting in the autumn of 2023.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
Skip to content